Windows 7 Upgrade Project Report

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					Windows 7 Upgrade Project Report
  Advanced Technical Solutions, LLC
         February 10, 2010
                      Contents


Our Decision…………………………………………………………………………………..3

An Investment in Business……………………………………………………………..4

End User Account – Jesse Baldwin………………………………………………….5

Technical Report – Chris Twohig…………………………………………………….6

Moving Forward……………………………………………………………………………..8




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Our Decision

It’s no secret that Microsoft has marketed the Windows 7 key focus as speed and
compatibility. Windows 7 addresses many of the speed issues found lacking in its
predecessor including faster start-up times, quicker program launches, and
overall increased performance; even on underpowered laptops and older PCs. In
regards to hardware and software compatibility, Windows 7 will work with more
accessories and programs than ever before, which wasn't the case when Windows
Vista debuted in early 2007.

Due to Windows Vista having such a rough start, we were very critical of this new
Operating System. There wasn’t much testing done prior to the decision to
upgrade all of our machines, so we quickly began searching for all the information
we could find. The marketing materials didn’t prove to be very helpful, except for
the testimonials by users paid for their feedback. What we were interested in
were the results from REAL users, which we found and proved very positive about
the new operating system.

We then experimented with a few machines from our network by running the
hardware compatibility test and were quite surprised to see how covered we
were. Microsoft realized that they needed something that would work over a
broad spectrum of hardware and Windows 7 is it.

Immediately after pushing Windows 7 out, feedback was coming in. Our users
seemed to like the Windows 7 streamlined interface. Though many things look
different, there’s a great ‘help’ tool, as well as plenty of guides online simply by
‘Googling’ what you’re looking for. A few of our technicians have even become
Microsoft Certified in the Windows 7 Operating System.




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An Investment in Business


There really wasn’t a dilemma between upgrading to Windows 7 or staying with
our Windows XP platform for our business. Aside from ease of use and trying to
stay up to date with the leading manufacturer of operating systems, the security
benefits alone answered our questions. Windows 7 has a great ‘Security Center’
that alerts and explains potential problems on your PC. This, paired with the
performance gains that we would see on upgraded machines, made it a simple
decision. We see this upgrade as an investment and the returns are already
coming back to us. We are seeing a positive response to the upgrade and feel
that this is a change for the best in today’s technology field.




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End User – First Hand Account Interview
Jesse Baldwin – Network Engineer, ATS, LLC

“Before I decided to upgrade to Windows 7, the state of my work PC was
functional. Over the years, this computer has compiled the little problems that
make a PC slow. These ‘work around’ problems caused it to take more time to do
a simple task. For example, when opening Internet Explorer I had to wait more
than a minute for it to load. There were no error messages or simple fixes but
this was a problem I could work through. We found similar issues with computers
that have been under hard business conditions over the last couple years. A
fresh start is exactly what I needed to be more productive in my job.

Working in the fast paced IT field I couldn’t spend a lot of time loading Windows
7, transferring all of my documents, and setting up all of the configurations.
Before I started the install, I went to Microsoft and download WET. The Microsoft
Windows Easy Transfer tool is used to transfer information for any Windows
upgrade. With a flash drive, I ran the utility. The utility transfers the user folders,
documents, and settings off of my XP machine on to the flash drive. Now it was
time to install Windows 7. The install was very easy. We had an install file loaded
on the network. A simple boot to the network and it started loading that install
file. Windows 7 was loaded within a half hour. After the first administrative
login, I then inserted the flash drive and ran the Windows Easy Transfer again. All
user information was transferred over. My first logon with my user name was just
as if I was logging into the same machine with a new look. I was surprised to see
that even such things as my installed printers, shortcuts on the desktop, and my
favorites where still attached to my user profile.

Windows 7 is now installed on my machine and the results are outstanding. This
really did rejuvenate my system and increased my productivity. I got my fresh
start and with the Windows 7 extended features have more options to
troubleshoot any issue that may arise. With the same average hardware, I have a
faster, more efficient machine that shows no signs of slowing.”




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Technical Report
Chris Twohig – Lead Engineer, ATS, LLC

Several changes to the installer have made maintaining an image across multiple
hardware platforms easier. The biggest of these changes was being able to use
the same image without having to build a new base image for each hardware
type. Rather than fully installing the OS on your base machine you can interrupt
the normal OS install and enter "Audit mode" where you can install any extra
applications, such as MS Office, Cisco Presence client, or a proprietary app that
you might want in your customized image. Once you have your image the way
you want it, you can boot to a Windows Deployment Server Capture Image from
the network and upload the image to your deployment server; or you could save
it to a file if you don't have Windows Deployment Server.

The deployment process with Windows Deployment Server in Server 2008 R2
added additional flexibility with deployments. Users no longer need installation
media, which may walk out the door with your licensed image on it. PC's are
booted from the network where they must authenticate to access the installation
image. Access to certain images can be restricted based on standard Active
Directory users and groups, down to the image level. Rather than someone in
sales waiting for a tech to install the OS on their new pc they can boot up and only
see the Sales image to eliminate confusion and accidentally installing a tech image
with none of their applications, no slight to our salesmen intended, ok maybe a
little. The only intervention on the administrator is to authorize the machine in
the WDS server and ensure it meets the proper naming convention. The
unattended installation will activate windows and join the domain as well as
answer all the user’s questions so they just see a progress bar. The same base
image can be used for different installation images by using separate unattended
installation files which can be used to call different scripts to customize the PC to
the user it is being installed for. This once again takes the burden off the
administrator to make sure the new machines being deployed are placed in the
proper OU structure for their environment. Probably the highlight of what was
added to Windows Deployment Server in R2 was the ability to check drivers into
the server without having to create a brand new image with new drivers
available. This means if someone gets a new pc, you simply download the drivers
from the manufacturer, check them into WDS, then boot their machine and install



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like normal. This works for the majority of hardware, but you still may need to
install additional control applications such as the ThinkPad utilities after the
installation, but at least the driver itself will be installed.

Combine this with VMware, and you now have the ability to copy and snapshot a
base image, as well as archiving and maintaining your images for patching and
application updates. Previously you might have had a room full of PCs for every
different hardware type you needed an image for and images you had to rotate
onto those machines for each type of user that you had. Now that room has
become a console with a VM for every user type that you have and nothing else
since that same image can be used on every hardware type.




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Moving Forward

In conclusion, as a company we are very pleased that we have upgraded to
Windows 7. Our office is just like many others; we are sometimes resistant to
change and afraid of hurting our performance. However, the facts were there to
help us make this decision and the benefits were immediate, helping us to
improve. In this industry we realize that you have to keep up with the changing
times. It is only about 3 months into the project and we are already seeing quite
a return on our investment, making the Windows 7 upgrade a very worthwhile
step in helping ourselves as well as customers.




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